Match Report: Manchester United 1-1 Southampton

Manchester United 1 Southampton 1

United failed to secure three points for the third time in four home league games this season, allowing a spirited Southampton side to grab an 89th minute equalizer.  While Southampton will feel their tenacity and hard work was justly rewarded, the Reds will rue the chances missed to put the game out of reach long before the crucial goal was conceded.

In truth, this was another performance in fits and starts from United, who took the lead with a Van Persie goal after 26 minutes, the forward latching onto a ball that rebounded to him after Boruc’s block had kept out Rooney’s shot.  Rooney had been fed by exquisite through ball from Januzaj, who impressed in the first half and continues to look an excellent wide option, with his ability to go past his man, cross or pass from deep in evidence once again here.  News that he had signed a contract will provide much consolation for United fans on another disappointing day.

United might have increased their lead when Rooney hit the bar shortly afterwards, although the signs were already apparent that Southampton, whose controlled passing was impressive at times, had enough quality to get back into the game.  In the second half, they became more dominant, pressing United high up the field and forcing some ragged passing from the home team.  Despite this, United still squandered chances to double their lead and went close when Van Persie’s header struck the bar and Januzaj’s excellent long-range shot was pushed aside by Boruc.

Southampton always had a threat in the second half, however, and got their late reward when Lovren scrambled the ball home from a corner to give them a share of the spoils.  Apart from the points lost, United fans will again be concerned about a failure to control the game in the middle of the park, where Fellaini in particular appeared to want more time on the ball than the opposition were willing to allow him and where Carrick struggled to find the space to influence proceedings.

It could also be argued that the second half substitutions that brought on Welbeck for Fellaini and Smalling for Rooney disrupted the shape of the team, necessitating a move for Januzaj over to the right, where he looked far less productive, and breaking up the Jones-Evans partnership that had been stretched at times but looked fairly secure at the heart of the home defence.  The fact remains, however, that even before these changes United looked still far from their best and, not for the first time this season, struggled to control a game against well-organised opponents.

5 Comments

  1. Though Southampton played well, United really should have pocketed all three points. They had scoring chances to get a two or three goal lead which would have snuffed out any chance of Southampton nicking a point.

    Disappointed with the 27 million pound man. Apart from a bit of physicality, Fellaini brings no more to the team than Tom Cleverley. To me, he has neither quick feet nor a particularly quick brain. He is certainly not the marquee midfield signing that United need.

    Credit to Southampton, they pressed hard and denied United time on the ball. Rooney was dispossessed several times whilst trying to retain control and often United found it difficult to shift the ball quickly and accurately. If anything, Southampton were good at moving the ball in transition from back to front with slick inter-passing, something we usually associate with United.

    At last Zaha made the bench though not the pitch. His ability to beat his marker and go for goal might have helped United score more than one. Only four goals in four home P.L. games against the likes of Palace, West Brom and Southampton is disappointing, to say the least.

    Januzaj signing his contract was the only bright news on a dull day.

  2. In sir alex days when they play bad half then sir alex gave them the hairdryer treatment and the performe fantastic is 2 half.

  3. Once Again United with all the extra back and side passes,tame midfield no running forward into Spaces,no forward press.Southamton played well as a team and pressed United well. Moyes trying to save a one goal lead..Hope Fellaini can do better than that,all round bad day Again for Unitedme new tactics are needed.

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